Sumidero Canyon is a narrow, deep canyon surrounded by a national park located just north of the city of Chiapa de Corzo in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

When your owners think about travelling to Mexico for vacation, they hear many times from friends, family, and co-workers, “You must go to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, or some other well-known location with beautiful white sandy beaches.”  This month, Resort Trades decided to highlight some other less well-known tourist locations in Mexico that are just as beautiful and have a tremendous amount to offer.  These locations offer plenty for families, singles, young couples, and people from all walks of life.  We decided to highlight two locations in Mexico — the State of Chiapas in southern Mexico, which borders Guatemala, and the State of Guanajuato, which is located in Central Mexico.  So, the next time you are asked for advice on undiscovered destinations in Mexico, here are a few ideas.

For History Buffs and Nature Lovers

Chiapas is a beautiful state with mountainous highlands and dense rainforest.  The Lancandon Jungle is located in Chiapas and the ecosystem covers approximately 4.6 million acres.  It contains about 25 percent of Mexico’s total species’ diversity.  In addition, Chiapas is filled with Mayan archeological sites and Spanish colonial towns.  Chiapas is known for having an incredible ancient culture that still exists today with one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico consisting of 12 different federally recognized ethnicities.  Chiapas is also home to the Mayan archeological sites of Palenque, Bonampak, Yaxchilan, and others.  The most popular attractions in Chiapas include the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, Canyon Sumidero, Blue Waterfall, Misol-Ha Waterfall, and the city of Palenque, which are also the home of the Palenque Ruins.

Palenque was at its height between 500 and 700 AD, when its influence spread throughout the Usumacinta River basin.

The city of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas was founded by the Spanish in 1528 and is considered the cultural center of Chiapas due to its history, culture, and indigenous peoples.  The city still maintains a well preserved Spanish colonial layout and architecture.  It was the capital of Chiapas until 1892 prior to moving the capital to Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Canyon Sumidero is a narrow and deep canyon in the State of Chiapas.  The canyon is surrounded by a Sumidero Canyon National Park and covers of approximately 54,000 acres.  It is the second most important tourist attraction in Chiapas.  The canyon has 30 waterfalls, two fresh water springs, three beaches, and a cofferdam approximately 9 feet wide.  The canyon is surrounded by rainforest and is rich with biological, ecological, and cultural diversity.

The city of Palenque, Chiapas is the home of the Palenque Mayan Ruins which date from 226 BC to 799 AD.  It contains some of the finest architecture, bas-relief carvings, and sculpture the Mayan produced.  Not far away from Palenque are the beautiful Blue and Misol-Ha waterfalls.

There are several timeshare resort offerings in Chiapas with modern amenities and services:

In addition, there are many smaller boutique and spa hotels in the tourist locations throughout Chiapas.

Guanajuato, Home of the Biosphere Reserve

Next, your owners/members may wish to discover the state of Guanajuato located in Central Mexico.  Guanajuato was initially settled by the Spanish in the 1820s.  It was important to the Spanish for its volume of mineral deposits.  Today Guanajuato is home to 21 protected environmental areas and the federal Biosphere Reserve which extends over approximately 585,000 acres.  It is home to over a 180 bird species, 42 mammal species, and 84 plant species.  It is an ideal place to visit for bird enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

San Miguel de Allende is a city and municipality located in the eastern end of the state of Guanajuato, in central Mexico. It is part of the macro region of Bajío.

San Miguel de Allende, a colonial era city located in eastern Guanajuato, is known for its Spanish architecture, cultural festivals, and unique art scene.  There is a large concentration of American foreign residents here, which make up one of the largest American communities in Mexico.  The city is beloved for its mild climate and many cultural opportunities which attract many tourists from Mexico and other foreign countries.  The state of Guanajuato is home to approximately 70 four and five star hotels and the main tourist attractions are the capital city of Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, and San Miguel de Allende.  Two of the three main tourist attraction cities have been designated as World Heritage Sites.  These sites have a tremendous amount of Mexican historical and cultural significance.  The Mexican War of Independence began in Guanajuato and is known for the famous “El Grito” cry which began the War of Independence.

Throughout the state of Guanajuato, the government has set up tourist routes such as Route of Independence, Archeological Route, Handcraft Route, and others.  It is also home to many water parks and thermal springs converted into water parks.  Lastly, Guanajuato is known for its many annual festivals held throughout the year.  The various festivals consist of many artistic and cultural events with artists invited from Mexico and other parts of the world.

There are several resort offerings in Guanajuato with modern amenities and services:

In the end, the Trades discovered there are other beautiful destinations in Mexico apart from the usual lure of the white sandy beaches of Mexico.  Mexico is a country filled with a diverse culture, architecture, history, cuisine, and much more.  We highlighted two, Chiapas and Guanajuato, and we are confident there are many more for your owners to discover!


J. Michael Martinez is Resort Trades’ emissary in Mexico and contributes a monthly column. He is the executive vice president of Cyria Group, a marketing and sales support company, and serves on the Board of Directors for C.A.R.E. (Cooperative Association of Resort Exchangers).